What makes a city unique? The key thing is people. My adopted home Hamilton is a mid sized city, close to a major large city, Toronto and at the same time surrounded by farmlands.
One summer, a few years ago there was a festival not far from my home and I learned that Hamilton is twinned with a small city in Sicily called Racamulto. The Festival is based around a religious ceremony going back to 1503. At that time a noble group was caught in a violent storm in northern Africa. They came across a hidden statue of SS Maria del Monte and the storm subsided. They decided to take the statue back to Sicily, but while on the journey the statue became bogged down in Racalmuto and it was decided to keep it there and declare SS Maria del Monte their patron sense. The journey has been reenacted both in Sicily and in North America. In 1931 Dr. Vincent Agro made it a 3 day event.
It is believed over 25,000 Hamiltonians have a family connection to Racamulto. As of 2011 there were less than 9,000 citizens in Racamulo. The Fratellanza Racalmutese Italian Club was formed in 1933 and located along Murray Street that has been renamed Corso Racalmuto. It is the centre of the festival. Also on Corso Racalmuto is the Bonanza Italian bakery famous city wide for its submarine sandwiches.
The statue at the top is of a famous Racamultese citizen, Leonardo Sciassa. He was born and lived his life there. One historic building carries his name. The statue is a duplicate of one in Racamulto. He was a teacher until 40, then a writer including books and movies. One of his books was about the kidnapping of Aldo Moro. Lots to say about Mussolini, the Mafia and Italian politics.
The Racalmutese have certainly left their mark on Hamilton.
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